Matan Torah is one of the most grand and defining events in Jewish history, so naively one would assume that any summary of key events would contain this grand event. Yet Dvarim 26, Joshua 24 nor Psalm 136 seem to mention it. What could be the reason and what can we learn from this?

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Although your assumption that any summary of key events would include Matan Torah would seemingly be correct like we find in the Haggada by Dayeinu, the cases you mention are not necessarily summaries of grand events.

Devarim 26 is explaining why we are bringing Bikkurim and for that the only things that are relevant are the events of leaving Egypt and receiving Eretz Yisroel.

Yehoshua 24 is explaining the reason to heed the Torah and serve Hashem because of all the kindness he did with us in taking us out of Egypt and throughout the midbar and giving us Eretz Yisroel. To say that you need to heed the Torah because Hashem gave us the Torah would seem counterintuitive.

The one place that does seem to summarize the kindness of Hashem is Psalm 136. However, for this there can be a simple answer based on the Gemara Pesachim 118A. The Gemara explains the 26 verses are parallels to the 26 generations that Hashem sustained the world before the Torah was given. If so, it is self explanatory why the Torah isn’t mentioned as one of the kindness’s.

אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן לֵוִי: הָנֵי עֶשְׂרִים וְשִׁשָּׁה ״הוֹדוּ״, כְּנֶגֶד מִי — כְּנֶגֶד עֶשְׂרִים וְשִׁשָּׁה דּוֹרוֹת שֶׁבָּרָא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בְּעוֹלָמוֹ וְלֹא נָתַן לָהֶם תּוֹרָה, וְזָן אוֹתָם בְּחַסְדּוֹ.

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: These twenty-six mentions of the word hodu, give praise, in this hallel (Psalms 136), to what do they correspond? He explains: They correspond to the twenty-six generations that the Holy One, Blessed be He, created in His world, and to whom He did not give the Torah. There were ten generations from Adam to Noah, another ten from Noah to Abraham, and six generations from Abraham to Moses and the revelation at Sinai, i.e., Isaac, Jacob, Levi, Kehat, Amram, and Moses. And why did these generations survive, despite the fact that they did not learn Torah or perform mitzvot? They survived only because God sustained them through His mercy, even though they were undeserving.


Welcome to Mi Yodeya! All three of your sources list kindnesses that G-d granted to the Jews. Matan Torah is the crucial event in Jewish history, but it is not that kind of event. Rather, it imposed an obligation. That is why at Matan Torah, G-d referred to the Exodus in the first commandment, to justify the Jews' level of obligation as being the reason for that kindness.

  • Thank you! Very interesting, while I see your point, I am still wondering. We often say that Torah is the greatest gift we ever received and that without it life would be meaningless see for instance the Ahavat Olam prayer. Would the gift of life, especially a meaningful life, not be the greatest act of kindness rather than a mere obligation?
    – dexiides
    Commented Aug 19, 2022 at 9:32
  • Only if you appreciate it. Sadly, not everyone does.
    – N.T.
    Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 8:52

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